What We Do

Karin and her lab members seek to understand the role of behavior in the origins, maintenance, and distribution of diversity. Our work is particularly focused on the evolution of mate choice and its role in the formation and maintenance of species boundaries.

We study mate choice, because mate choice is one of the most critical behaviors affecting lifetime fitness. As such, it is both under strong selection and is a potent selective force. Mate choice is therefore ideally suited for studying the evolution of behavior and its evolutionary and ecological consequences.


We believe that “tomorrow’s solutions are founded on today’s basic research” and that basic research can help solve pressing issues confronting us. Our research provides insights into the links between an individual’s environment and their behavior. 

We also seek to understand how behavior contributes to gene exchange between species and the role this plays in population persistence and the spread of species into novel habitats. This work has implications for understanding problems ranging from the role of physical health in behavioral disorders to understanding invasive species spread.

Education for all

Karin and members of the lab are committed to public engagement, enhancing K-12 education, and undergraduate training for careers in science. We feel strongly that science and the opportunity to pursue science careers should be broadly accessible to all.